The Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus) is highly variable in coloration and can be many colors and combinations of colors. Two of the most common in the aquarium trade are a solid black color with white fin tips and a bright red-orange color morph. This species is identified by a long, broad lure that can be up to twice as long as the dorsal spine behind it and has small, compressed appendages extending off of it. It also has some warty bumps on its body and usually has three spots on its tail.
The common names "Anglerfish" and "Frogfish" are often used interchangeably. The fish available to the aquarium trade are very different from the deep-water Anglers featured in Disney's "Finding Nemo" that use a bright light to lure their prey. The Frogfish and Anglerfish for aquariums are found around reefs and rockwork where they blend in to ambush their prey. Like their deep-water counterparts, they do use a lure to attract prey but their lure looks more like a pom-pom or worm, depending on the species.
These fish are often difficult to identify down to an exact species because of their very high variation in colors and patterns. They can also often change color and pattern to better blend in with their surroundings. With a few distinctive exceptions, most are extremely variable and may be different than the example pictured here.
Anglers and Frogfish are ambush predators and can eat almost anything small enough to fit into their (very large) mouths. This can include other fish as well as inverts like crabs, shrimp and others. Use caution when choosing tankmates. These fish are not very active and can be kept in a fairly small tank (depending on species) and can be kept alone as a "species-only" showcase.
They will typically eat almost any meaty foods offered but may only accept live items at first. Though they should be weaned onto frozen at some point, live ghost shrimp, mollies, guppies and similar items can be used at first. Eventually, they can be trained to accept frozen clam, squid, shrimp, krill and similar items. It is not unusual for these fish to fast the first few days to even weeks once introduced to a new environment or after a particularly large feeding.
Visit That Fish Blog for an Anglerfish Species Profile and information on Anglerfish Breeding Habits from our on-staff marine biologists!